According to the IRS, more than 31 million Americans have qualified for refunds so far this tax season, with an average pay out of $3,211. If you’re among this lucky group, you have the chance to do something exceptional. By using your refund wisely, you have a unique opportunity to improve your finances and increase your quality of life.

Devon Hyde, Manager of Resource Development for national nonprofit Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Maryland and Delaware (CCCS), says, “For many people, a tax refund represents the largest influx of cash they’ll see all year. It’s almost like having an unplanned paycheck. Suddenly having this much money in hand can be tempting, but it also offers an amazing chance to become more financially secure.”

Preeti Mehta, Director of Project Incubation at the Doorways to Dreams Fund (D2D), agrees. Mehta, who leads D2D’s Tax Time Savings work, says a refund makes it possible to achieve multiple financial goals, such as paying bills, repaying debt, and most importantly, building savings. [read more here]